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Mount Ijen and the most acidic lake in the world

12/03/2020 1.347 Views

Mount Ijen (Kawah Ijen) is part of the Ijen Volcano, near the island of Java in Indonesia, which name means «green crater». The lake of its crater is known for its deep emerald color and…. Its acidity.


The lake of Mount Ijen is known as the most acidic lake in the world, despite its beautiful turquoise color (precisely due to its acidity), you are then advised not to plunge your hand into it, even if you are offered to !The lake is 1 km long and 600m wide and is located right next to a solfatare, producing large quantities of sulphur.

The carriers of Sulphur


During the day, it is possible that fog and sulphur hides the view of the lake from you, in this case it is better to descend into the crater, accompanied by your guide and another expert of the field, a carrier of sulphur.

A job that is very difficult because of the high sulphur loads on their backs (the weight can range from 70 to 100 kilos!) and the working environment, the sulphur carriers are hard-working, deserving workers, earning about 10 euros a day for their work. Working mostly without gas masks, they have to extract the sulphur, bring it up from the crater, to then bring it down the volcano.

The goal is of course not to slow them down in their work, but the descent of the crater can be difficult and you are advised to follow their footsteps. In addition, you can buy them a small statue carved in sulfur, an original and authentic souvenir, which will bring an appreciable income supplement for these brave men.

Going down into the crater will give you a much more unobstructed view, but will also allow you to breathe a little, as there are fewer sulphur fumes at this location.


Many travelers climb Mount Ijen for the famous blue flames of its lake during the night. Sulphur, ubiquitous on Mount Ijen, sometimes ignites when it comes out of the ground as gas and produces these blue flames that are admired by travellers.

The hike starts around 2 am for a softly rythmed hike to arrive a few hours before sunrise and admire the blue flames.


As usual, here are some recommendations to make the most of your excursion.

Prepare for the strong presence of sulphur :
The smell of sulphur is very unpleasant, resembling the smell of rotten egg and its presence can also makes breathing harder. You are therefore advised to rent a gas mask on site and/or a cloth that you can moisten to relieve your airway.

Be accompanied by a guide :

Many travelling blog advise you to go without a guide. On the contrary, we advise you to be accompanied by the guide accompanying you during your trip. 

The hike is simple, no more than 1h30 and well signposted, but you will prefer to be accompanied for your ascent of the crater which is probably the most physical part of the excursion. In fact, the place will always be invaded by sulphur and breathing during the ascent will then become more difficult. In order to avoid having to be helped by a sulphur carrier (who honestly already has enough to do like this), we recommend the presence of a guide to enjoy your excursion safely.

Bring a flashlight that won’t abandon you :
If you do the night hike, there will probably be other travelers you can walk with if you have forgotten your lamp, but despite the relative softness of the hike, the path is not always perfectly flat and you will want to avoid twisting your ankle.

Take your time :
If you have been hiking at night to observe the blue flames of the lake, you will notice that the place empties very quickly in the early morning. Despite the fatigue, try to make the most of this quiet morning moment and take beautiful photos!

During the hike too, do not hesitate to take breaks to enjoy the view !

Think comfort and safety :
We can never say it enough, but take good comfortable shoes that you like to walk in, that hold your foot and ankle well !

See you soon with Mandarin Road Voyages !



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